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Lagos community, hotel differ on cause of flood

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Max Royal Hotel, erected a perimetre fence and a generator tent on top of the canal, thereby preventing free flow of the rainwater.<br />

Residents of Old Ewu/Ogunyinka streets and environs in the Mafoluku area of Oshodi, Lagos State, are appealing to the state government to come to their aid and stem the tide of flood that is ravaging their neighbourhood.

Some of them who spoke to The Guardian explained that they have been at the mercy of the flood for many years now, but things took a turn for the worse when the owner of a hospitality outfit, Max Royal Hotel, erected a perimetre fence and a generator tent on top of the canal, thereby preventing free flow of the rainwater.

They also alleged that St. Jude Catholic Church, Mafoluku is one of the buildings affected by the flood, as worshipers go through hell accessing their place of worship after a heavy downpour.

Since the flood started constituting a menace, properties worth millions of naira have been destroyed in the community.

Chairman, Community Development Association (CDA), Old Ewu/Ogunyinka, Elder Samuel Oyetunde, told The Guardian that the community has written series of letters to the government informing it of the flood challenge, but up till now, noting has been done.

Oyetunde pointed out that each building in the community contributed N2, 000, while St. Jude Catholic Church donated N200, 000, which was spent on cleaning/de-silting the drainage to ensure free flow of water, but the flood persisted because of the buildings erected in wrong places.

“We have been living with the flood for some years now even though it is a very unfortunate situation.

In 2017, we had a terrible experience when floodwater entered almost all the buildings in this area. We complained to the state government that Max Royal Hotel was built on a canal, which is the major cause of the flood.

Since the complaint was lodged, nothing has been done to open the blocked canal.

This is a canal that runs from this area through Airport Road, down to NAHCO, but all the waterways have been blocked, thereby preventing the free flow of water. The ongoing construction work at Airport Road, has also added to the problem of flooding, as whenever it rains, the whole place is heavily flooded.

So, we appeal to the government to come to our aid, and ensure that the canal is cleared of all encumbrances.

“We have written series of letters to the government informing it of the ugly situation here, even the lawmaker, who represents us at the state House of Assembly is aware of our plight, and the chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Council is also aware, but nothing has been down about it.

Out of desperation, we consulted a civil engineer, who told us that the hotel’s fence is the cause of the flood and it should be removed, he advised us to clean the drainage by ourselves, which we did but the problem is still there.

“We have reported the issue to the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Works and Housing, they also asked the community members to clean the environment, which we did, but there is no positive result.”

A youth leader in the community, Gazau Olagundoye, said youths have been actively participating in monthly sanitation exercise in the area in order to ensure that drainages are cleared and cleaned.

He said: “We want government to intervene in this issue because we do not want to take laws into our hands, many of our youths are angry about this unabating flood, but we decided to be patient until government comes around to see what can be done about the situation.”

A member of the Financial Committee of St. Jude Catholic Church, Mr. Chike Mbachu, said since the flood started, the committee has been doing its best to save the church from flood.

He said: “We have reported the matter to the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Works and Housing, but their response has been very slow. We have been cooperating with community members to sanitise the community.

We have been communicating with our community to find a lasting solution to the problem, but as I am talking to you, we are still waiting for the government to intervene,” he said.

Mbachu continued: “We have spent over N250, 000 to clear the drainage, but the major blockage has not been opened. The flood affects church services because whenever it rains worshipers will not coming in through the main gate of the church. Some worshipers even turn back because of the flood. The drainage is clogged, road is covered by floodwater and this makes movement difficult for people in this community.

A staff member of Max Royal Hotel, who identified himself as Joseph Joseph, said the hotel workers also join in cleaning the canal, adding that flood problem in the area has been on for years.

He said community leaders wrote a letter to the hotel claiming that its fence was blocking the canal, but the hotel’s lawyer replied them that the hotel workers clean the canal weekly.

Joseph said: “Three weeks ago the community leaders came to see our manager for the second time. There, they told the manager that they have discovered another place where the problem stems from, and that the hotel is not responsible for the flood.

They further demanded the hotel should assist them with cash to enable them clear the drainage as part of the hotel’s Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR), which we promised to assist them.”

Asked if the hotel is ready to remove the offending structure from the canal, he said, “We are not the cause of the flood because they even said that they have discovered another place where the problem is after the community leaders consulted a engineer to survey the canal.

For now, the people are waiting for government to intervene.


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